Peacock Bass Fishing – 60+ fish caught and released in one day

Peacock Bass Fishing – 60+ fish caught and released in one day

The Peacock Bass were not shy that day for sure. Between the 3 of us more than 60 was caught and released. In the right conditions, the Peacock Bass is more than just one the hardest fighting freshwater fish pound-for-pound on the planet but are also a survivor.

This brute of the Cichlid family from the Amazon appears to have settled down in many countries other than South America. They were introduced on purpose into Florida waters to control the Tilapia (another cichlid) outbreak and now reside merrily along with other immigrants from Asia namely the infamous fishzilla, the Snakeheads!

Over here in South East Asia it is the other way round where the Peacock Bass has invaded the traditional homes of the Snakeheads. The Peacock Bass is most abundant in Malaysia (almost throughout the country), certain waters in Singapore, the Philippines and some appears to starting the appear in Thailand too. It was and still is a controversial species especially in Malaysia where it first started appearing sometime in the mid nineties.

They are the bane for tree huggers and a boon for sports anglers!

The fighting quality of the Peacock Bass cannot be argued. Once hooked it just goes berserk. There is no turbo-charged run but instead the fight can go in any direction! Away, down, up, left, right or airborne, you never quite know what the Peacock Bass you just hooked might do which makes it so crazy fun to catch. And they fight hard and fight till you boat them, if the fish did not somehow throw the hook. The best way to catch a Peacock Bass is to fish with appropriate tackle to maximize the fun. Speaking of fun, I find fly-fishing for them is nothing short of awesome and it’s a very effective method as well.

Alvin and I made a recent day trip to fish for Peacock Bass on light tackle. Alvin’s gear was ultra-light. His preferred spin-fly method of catching Peacock Bass is very effective. The Major Craft Troutino rod matched with a Shimano Stella 1000FE reel spooled with 4-pound line was great fun to use.

Peacock Bass Fishing
The bite was hot and so was the sun

I on the other hand decided to further test out the newly acquired Daiwa Exceler-X 2500 spooled with 8-pound Berkley Vanish Transition with a Daiwa Crossfire rod. This is only the second time trying out this reel and line. The first time the Daiwa Exceler-X 2500 saw action was a week ago when out saltwater fishing where it was given a really good workout.

The Piss-Stop

I have to mention our stop at the Tapah R&R for a quick piss and breakfast was a real mistake. The food there was just plain horrible with rip-off prices. I’d advise you to skip the place and eat elsewhere if you have to.

Now, back to some reel action. The fishing got off to a slightly delayed start as we waited for a fellow angler, Hanif who is a regular here. Our first stop was fishing at the outer perimeter of a duck farm. Yes, duck farm, you can find lots of them here. Thankfully there are no ducks around and we could fish in peace.

Peacock Bass Fishing
A 40cm beauty

Snakehead Surprise

The action was almost instantaneous with many Peacock Bass on the bite but no biggies except for one 40 cm fish by Alvin immediately following a nice Striped Snakehead (Haruan) by the boatman, Mee. No, not me, I’m not the boatman but Mee, the boatman’s name. Heh!

Striped Snakehead
Nice and beefy

Alvin had great fun bringing the fish in using his ultra light gear. We initially thought it was another good-sized snakehead till we saw the broad flash of yellow and red ascending. Naturally all on board shouted, NET!

Striped Snakehead
Second smaller haruan

Everyone had loads of fun here including Hanif who went around checking out different spots and being rewarded with a small Sebarau (Jungle Perch). Mee, then went on to hook another (smaller) Snakehead. But there were also many Mayan Cichlids going after our lures. These Mayans are not big but they put up a good fight, much better than those awful Flowerhorn Cichlids. Many a times we’d think we hooked a smallish Peacock Bass only to see a Mayan at the end of the line. Fun but not what we came for.

Mayan Cichlid
One of the Mayans

Mayan Cichlid
Alvin and the spin-fly outfit

So we took a breather back on land and sheltered from the hot sun to cool our bodies down. After a quick simple lunch under some trees we loaded the boats back onto the trailer and made our way through some really winding paths to another pond.

I’ve seen my fair share of ponds in my years of fishing but this pond is something else. It took my breath away. It was like a hidden oasis surrounded by thick trees where monkeys were swinging from branches. There are also limestone structures sticking out from the clear waters with the biggest resembling a mushroom in the center of the pond. There were birds nesting within its nooks and crannies. Many different species of plant fringe the edge of the pond.

Limestone Structure
Wonders of nature

Beautiful Pond
This rock looks like a wild boar of sorts. Click to enlarge for a better look.

Beautiful Pond
Click to enlarge

This pond also has hidden corners behind huge boulders of limestone rock. The place has a natural garden look about it and felt mythical even.

The first Peacock Bass that greeted us immediately as we commenced fishing was a very dark colored specimen. The bites were not as consistent as the first pond we went to but all fish caught were Peacock Basses. We felt they fought harder too over here.

Peacock Bass Fishing
Black beauty

No monsters were caught but Hanif had a few good ones. He also fly-fished a little here. Alvin got a good hook-up at one time but the fish got snagged in the weedy bottom. Who knows how big that one could have been?

Peacock Bass Fishing
They have big eyes. The fish I mean.

We moved about a bit more at this pond. At one time the bites slowed and was far in between. As the thruster motor was pushing us gently back to where we parked our cars we happened upon a boiling surface, which could only indicate a Peacock Bass feeding frenzy. We moved in to get a piece of the action and within less than one hour probably caught somewhere around 15 fishes between the three of us.

Peacock Bass

All Peacock Bass Caught Were Released to Grow Fatter and Angrier

We will certainly be back for more Peacock Basshing. This time I intend to arm myself with beefier tackle to tussle with bigger bullies. Oh wait, what is that I feel again? Oh no, the itch-to-fish is already beginning to strike…

Sunset at Beautiful Pond
Sunset at peacock paradise

Comments

  1. amirul says

    Greetings

    Dear jw,

    i just came across ur article here..it was awesome reading it..i would like to know more about the place..

  2. mike says

    would love to know more … been to Brazil and VENS for the fish …. my wife is from the P.I. so Naturally I want to fish :O)

  3. mike says

    Fixing to Retire there … We’ll be living in the Olongapo and Santa Cruz Area …. (Paponga Prov.) Would love to know how far ???? and cost to fish there ????? :O) and are there any places close by for me ????? thanks …

    Mike

    • says

      Hey Mike, thanks for dropping in with your comments. Hope your wishes come true and you and your mrs will have a happy life in the Philippines.

      They have Peacock Bass and Largemouth Bass fishing there but that’s about all I can share with you as I’m not too familiar with that place.

      The location featured in this article is in Malaysia which is about 3 hours away by flight (Manila – Kuala Lumpur).

  4. Sam says

    I’ve been thinking of doing this peacock bass fishing, wondering whether you allow others to tag along in your future trips.

  5. Khairil says

    Hi JW,

    I just came across your article here. If you don’t mind, i really would like to know the location of the limestone pond and how to go there. I have been fishing at the duck pond ever since but never realize the existence of this place. Really appreciate if you could guide me the way since I am really amazed by the views, apart from the PB fight.

    Tq.

    • says

      Hi Khairil,

      Thanks for the comment. The duck pond can produce pretty good fishing! As for the pond with the nice rock, it’s actually on private property so it’s not freely accessible by everyone. I guess that is the reason why not many people are aware of it.

      • Khairil says

        Hi JW,

        Thanks for your reply. Quite shocking when you say the duck pond produce good catch since I never land any PB before. Only meal size wild tilapia catching bottom worm bait after tired of casting without any result. Or maybe because I only fish from the shore and never get on a boat on that pond. But, I insist to know the rock pond location. You can PM me if our conversation here is too public.

        Thank you.

        • says

          Fishing from a boat may make a difference or perhaps the pond have been heavily fished. That’s why practicing catch & release is so important for sustainable fishing.

          I don’t even know how to direct you to the rock pond even if I wanted to. You see, I was also brought there and not being local it’s impossible to remember all the turns between the small paths, ponds and estates.

  6. Timothy says

    I plan to go to this place soon and I need some details on how to fish here. I’m planning to fly fish here. Also, do they rent boats there?

    • says

      Spoons and micro jigs works well although you should try other lures out. For fly fishing, I’d prefer fast sinking lines with crazy charlie at the weeds edge or streamers and floating lines with hoppers on the shallower areas. I’m not aware of any boat rental facilities around, except for Clearwater Sanctuary.

What do you think?